We feel compelled to comment on the sensationalistic tone of the May 9 article, "Catholic systems seek changes at JCAHO" (p. 6). While it is true that the Catholic Multihospital System Quality Forum is preparing for an opportunity to discuss its concerns about JCAHO accreditation issues with staff at the Joint Commission, we don't believe it is accurate to portray the group as taking quite the adversarial position implied in the article.
As chair of the subcommittee charged with developing a list of issues to be discussed with the Joint Commission, Jan Commens can definitely state that it is inaccurate to characterize these issues as a "list of demands." As she stated to the article's author, the group's purpose in seeking a meeting with Joint Commission staff is to enable the Quality Forum members to learn more about Joint Commission initiatives so they may better serve the hospitals in their systems and provide input to Joint Commission staff from representatives of their customers. While she cannot speak for other members of the subcommittee, it does seem that the article portrays the group as taking a much more negative stance than is actually true.
We are certainly not speaking as apologists for the Joint Commission; clearly there are opportunities for improvement in the accreditation process. However, as a founding member of the Quality Forum, Marsha Ladenburger can attest to the willingness of Joint Commission staff to meet with this group on several previous occasions. Furthermore, we have personally found the Joint Commission willing to listen to our concerns as representatives of the Daughters of Charity Health System.
We think it serves no one's purpose to publish articles that promote a "let's you and them fight" attitude. The best interests of patients, hospitals and the Joint Commission all are better served by reasoned discussion.
Vice president, quality and
Director, quality and
Daughters of Charity
National Health System, St. Louis